Škoda Fabia WRC after complete renovation

The Fabia WRC was developed as the successor to the Skoda Octavia WRC, with which the automaker competed in four seasons in the World Rally Championship. The Fabia WRC represents a new chapter for Skoda Motorsport's division. Unlike the Octavia, the Fabia had a much smaller body, which was advantageous on narrow tracks. The Fabia WRC was homologated during the summer of 2003. However, the model faced numerous technical challenges on its path to success. In 2005, the factory developed the Fabia WRC Evo II, a model with a new front bumper, wing, and significant changes to the power unit. Evo II received modified turbochargers, a new exhaust system, and improved weight distribution.

The greatest success with the Fabia WRC was achieved by Colin McRae in Wales. In Australia, where he held third place, he had to withdraw from the competition due to an unfortunate clutch replacement. After the 2005 season, Skoda Motorsport withdrew from the World Championship, but the Fabia WRC continued to compete in private teams' hands. In 2006 and 2007, Jan Kopecký managed to finish fifth on asphalt tracks in Spain and Germany. A total of 24 Fabia WRC units were produced. In terms of results, the car did not initially confirm its sporting ambitions. However, the Fabia WRC provided valuable experience to the Skoda Motorsport team, helping to define the development approach for the new generation of competition cars. This was evident in the development of the second generation Fabia for the S2000 category.

In the pictures, you can see the Fabia WRC with body number 7. The car made its debut in 2003 at the races in Australia, piloted by Didier Auriol. During its debut season, Didier also participated with the Fabia in the Rally San Remo and the English Rally. In the 2004 season, the car was in the hands of Toni Gardemeister. Jan Kopecký also took the wheel in Spain in the same year. After 2007, the Fabia WRC passed into the hands of private teams and eventually ended up in Ireland with Eugene Donnelly at the end of the year. In 2010, it returned to European soil until 2022 when C&M Motorsport took over the Fabia WRC.

After so many years of intense competition, the car required a complete renovation. C&M Motorsport took on the task. The biggest dilemma was whether to build the car for asphalt or gravel specification. They eventually opted for asphalt specification and the design from 2003 when Didier Auriol started with it in the Rally San Remo. Although he only managed to finish 12th that time, competing against top cars and drivers like Grönholm, Burns, Duval, Mäkinen, Hirvonen, Solberg, Loeb, and Sainz was quite an achievement. The renovation was carried out with great attention to detail.

Under the hood, the Fabia WRC hides a turbocharged four-cylinder two-liter engine with 5 valves per cylinder, based on the 1.8T unit. A Garrett TR30R turbocharger with a 34-millimeter restrictor limits the power to 300 horsepower. To achieve this power even in extreme weather conditions, the intercooler is water-sprayed. Of course, the car is equipped with an anti-lag system to suppress turbo lag. The sequential 6-speed gearbox is connected to all four wheels via three active differentials. The front differential and the inter-axle differential are located together in the gearbox casing. All differentials were electronically controlled back then. The interior of the vehicle cannot be compared to the production version that many of you are familiar with. The complete safety equipment of the cabin includes a central battery disconnect and a fire extinguishing system. According to the specification, the Fabia WRC weighs 1230 kilograms.

C&M Motorsport's Fabia meets all the expectations even from demanding rally fans. The future owner can either keep it as a collector's item in the garage or use it for events like Rally Legends or historic car races at Goodwood, or even in local competitions. This car is a true piece of rally history, and now it's in perfect original condition as when it left the factory in 2003. The exact price of the vehicle is unfortunately not available. Only serious buyers will be able to find out the amount. While the Fabia WRC didn't collect titles or trophies, it brought something much more valuable – experience. Thanks to it, today, the Skoda Motorsport division is known worldwide, and we can watch the modern Fabia RS Rally2 achieving success on the tracks of world championships.

Text: Mateo
Photo: C&M Motorsport

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